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Five talking points from the League of Ireland

Dundalk fans

Tribesmen top the table

Galway United continued their impressive start to the season with a 4-0 home win over Bray Wanderers that put them on top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division table on goal difference.

After their impressive opening day win at St Patrick’s Athletic, Tommy Dunne’s side picked up from where they left off in Dublin, although their cause was helped greatly by a miserable run of luck for the visitors, who lost four players to injuries, two in each half.

It was only after Bray were reduced to ten men, having used all their substitutes, that Galway began to take control, with Kevin Devaney putting them ahead on 65 minutes with a fine solo goal.

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Bray continued to put up some stubborn resistance, but in the last six minutes Galway hit the back of the net three times with a Paul Finnegan own-goal, and strikes from Vinny Faherty and Ruairi Keating wrapping up a good win.

Champions looking good

Dundalk recorded their second win of the season with a comfortable 3-0 win over Finn Harps at Oriel Park.

The visitors had made a good start to their campaign with a win over Derry City in their opening game, but with five players missing from the starting line up of a week ago, they were no match for the reigning champions, who were never in trouble once Paddy Barratt put them ahead with a glancing header in the 16th minute from Darren Meenan’s corner kick.

On his home debut, Patrick McEleney almost doubled Dundalk’s advantage before half time with a header that struck the woodwork, but he opened his goalscoring account for his new club on the hour mark, with a shot from the edge of the box after Dane Massey’s cutback.

A tough night for newly promoted Harps got worse 15 minutes from time, when Harps striker Ryan Curran got a touch to Daryl Horgan’s header to deflect the ball past his own keeper Richard Brush for Dundalk’s third goal.

Two in row for Hoops

Shamrock Rovers also made it two wins from two with a 2-0 victory over Wexford Youths at the Tallaght Stadium, leaving Shane Keegan’s side pointless after their opening two games.

Rovers, who ditched their original first choice green shorts for white after their opening game, took a while to break down the well organised Youths, and it took an outstanding goal to put them ahead just on the hour mark.

Brandon Miele, who was named in the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad in midweek, followed up his spectacular free kick against Sligo Rovers on the opening weekend with another great effort, this time with a 25-yard shot into the top left corner of the net that flew in off the hand of Wexford goalkeeper Graham Doyle.

The Hoops tied up the points two minutes from time, when skipper Gary McCabe converted a penalty after being brought down in the box by Youths’ Lee Grace.

Cork fall to Derry

Cork City slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the Brandywell to Derry City, giving the Candystripes’ manager Kenny Shiels his first win in charge in their opening home game.

In a ceremony before the game, Derry City retired their number 18 jersey in honour of former player Mark Farren, who passed away in November, and his team mates delivered a fitting tribute to him against John Caulfied’s title contenders.

A frantic first half produced little in the way of chances at either end, and the only goal of the game arrived just on the hour, with Derry’s Ronan Curtis finishing off a fine move when he collected a pass from Barry McNamee and beat Cork keeper Mark McNulty with a shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Cork dominated the closing stages, but hopes of breaking through the Derry City defence were dashed when they were reduced to 10 men in the final 10 minutes. Frustration evidently got the better of Greg Bolger, who was shown a straight red card after he cynically took out goalscorer Curtis with a tackle from behind.

Pats off and running

St Patrick’s Athletic bounced back from their surprise opening day home defeat to Galway United with a 1-0 win over Longford Town at the City Calling Stadium.

Pats always looked the more likely side to get the three points, and their cause was helped when Longford were reduced to 10 men just before the half time.

Town’s captain Conor Powell received a yellow card in the 24th minute after a challenge on the half way line, but he gave the referee an easy decision to make on the stroke of half time when a poor challenge on Conan Byrne left the whistler with little option other than to produce a second yellow card.

It took the visitors until the 65th minute to make the most of their one man advantage, when a move involving Conan Byrne and Graham Kelly set up a chance for Christy Fagan, who volleyed an unstoppable shot past Longford goal keeper Paul Skinner for his second goal in successive weeks.

Results:

Premier Division – Bohemians 1 Sligo Rovers 0, Derry City 1 Cork City 0, Dundalk 3 Finn Harps 0, Galway United 4 Bray Wanderers 0, Longford Town 0 St Patrick’s Athletic 1, Shamrock Rovers 2 Wexford Youths 0.

Division One: Athlone Town v Shelbourne – abandoned due to a floodlight failure, Cobh Ramblers 1 Drogheda United 1, UCD 2 Cabinteely 1, Waterford United 2 Limerick 5

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